Showing posts with label Trader Joe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trader Joe. Show all posts

Monday, July 15, 2013

Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel 2010

Peachy Canyon Winery, in the Westside of Paso Robles, produces a host of wonderful Zinfandels.  Former schoolteachers Doug and Nancy Beckett started the winery in 1988.  You could learn a thing or two about Zin in their Old School House Tasting Room, where staying after school is quite desirable.

The second generation is now getting into the act - Josh Beckett has been the Peachy Canyon winemaker since 2003.

I tried the Peachy Canyon Incredible Red Zinfandel at Spiedini, in the J.R. Marriott Hotel in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin.  It’s a favorite restaurant for my wife and I when we visit.  The big sin in Sin City would be missing an opportunity to dine here.  A 100% Zinfandel wine at 14.9% abv, this one isn’t shy.  The wine was offered by the glass, and if I remember correctly it cost about $12.  I’ve seen it by the bottle for less than that at Trader Joe’s over the past few years.

This Zin is medium dark in color with a pretty purple around the rim.  Brilliant aromas of blueberry dance with notes of black pepper and sage.  The palate is just as fruit-forward, with big blueberry and black cherry flavors residing on base of savory black olive.  It was great with the prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloins.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Trader Joe’s Wine Tasting

The new Trader Joe’s at 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles - right across from the Farmers Market - is now pouring wine tastings.  It's something I never see at the Trader Joe's stores I frequent.  They even have a little tasting bar in the back of the store.  I was told they will pour all day.  That’s the good news.

The bad news: it’s not really a very good tasting experience.  Kudos to them for the idea, but it isn’t really a good substitute for a trip to wine country.  The tastes are served in those little white paper cups in which they serve all their samples - about the size of the ones used to serve pills at the hospital.  There’s not a lot of swirling going on, and good luck getting your nose in there.

There’s no spit bucket, either - not that you have to worry too much about getting tipsy on that thimbleful of wine.  The crew member pouring for me offered a waste basket - half full of used paper napkins - in which I could expel the sip.  I did appreciate the thought, though.

Lastly, the wines being poured - there were two on the menu the day I popped in - aren’t exactly off the top shelf.  Five or six bucks can buy a decent wine at Trader Joe’s, but it has never changed my life.

Even if you don’t like the wines, you probably needed some peanuts or cheese or vanilla almond milk anyway.  There’s also the Mendocino Farms restaurant in that new shopping center, so the trip won’t be a total loss.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 13

Viñas Chilenas Reserva Merlot 2009 

Viñas Chilenas is a Trader Joe brand produced and bottled by Videma S.A.  From Chile's Valle Central area.   It rings up at the register at a paltry $2.99.  Will this wine beat the recession for us?  Let's sip it and see.

First, a look-see shows a dark purple hue I can see through, with some red at the edges.  The nose is a bit tight, but I smell berry and currant, along with a very slight smokiness.  The first sip is a bit tannic, but things smoothed out nicely after just a few minutes.  There's blackberry, cherry and raspberry on the palate.  It's a nice taste, a medium mouthfeel, maybe a little thin for me, and a bit uninspired.

Anything more than a cursory description, I feel, will be damning the wine with faint praise.  It's a decent enough drink, just not very interesting.  For three dollars, I expected less than that.  I generally spend well over that amount on a bottle of wine, so I don't have to settle for a "decent enough drink."  And in the future, I won't.  But if you're trying to stretch your wine dollar as far as possible, you could do worse.

Variety:  Merlot
Appellation:  Chile > Central Valley > Maipo Valley
Vintage:  2009
Alcohol Level:  13.5%
Price:  $3
Acquisition disclaimer:   Purchased by the author

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 12

Clay Station Viognier 2007

I discovered this wine at an Indian restaurant Denise and I frequent.  It was a restaurant that had traditionally offered only beer as an alcoholic beverage.  The proprietor - a young Indian man who is hip to the fact that wine has become seriously mainstream popular - decided to branch out.  I saw the wine list and expected, hoped, to find some treasures of the burgeoning Indian wine industry.  They were there, indeed.  But also calling my name was Lodi, California.

Anytime I see a wine from Lodi on a wine list, I am compelled to try it.  I love the mineral-laced wines made from grapes grown in that clay earth.  The whites from Lodi have a mineral profile that is hard to match.  The old stagecoach stop - Clay Station - is memorialized in the name on the bottle.  That dirt itself is even in the name.  It makes me think of that John Fogerty lyric, "stuck in Lodi again," and imagine that it may not be such an awful place to find oneself anymore.  At least if you've got four dollars for a bottle of Viognier.

Clay Station Viognier is one of those not-so-rare finds at the Trader Joe's grocery chain.  If you can only buy really inexpensive wine, buy it at Trader Joe's.  They have a store full of genuinely good wine at prices that are sometimes jaw-dropping.  And if you're trying to bust a recession, what better way to do it than with a $4 wine that's actually pretty good?

The nose is floral and aromatic, with a good sense of the minerals coming forth right away, too.  On the palate, the wine is viscous and fruity, but again the minerals act as a traveling companion.  Peaches is what the taste reminds me of, but not sweet, drippy peaches served in the summertime with homemade vanilla ice cream.  These peaches are a bit short of fully ripe, with just a hint of crunch to them.  The acidity is quite nice and the finish long.  It was great with Indian food, by the way.  At home, we paired it with cabbage and red onions sauteed in olive oil, and it made us glad we didn't go out to dinner. 

Variety:  100% Viognier
Vineyard:  Clay Station Vineyard
Appellation:  California > San Joaquin County > Lodi
Vintage:  2007
Alcohol Level:  13.5% abv
Price:  $4
Acquisition disclaimer: Purchased by the author

Monday, November 9, 2009

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 3

Tres Pinos Tierra Blanca is a San Luis Obispo County wine, but that's just where the grapes come from. The winery which makes it, San Antonio Winery, is actually in downtown Los Angeles. It's something of a historical landmark. This wine was bottled specifically to be marketed at Trader Joe's as a bottom-shelf $5 wine. That's the history lesson, now let's see how good this recession-busting tastes today.

The Bottle: Tres Pinos is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Chardonnay. The alcohol level is relatively low at 13.5% abv. The label promises "bright and crisp with aromas of citrus and wildflowers."

The Nose: If they say it's citrus and wildflowers I'm smelling, so be it. I detect a floral presence along with a tropical note - perhaps guava. But there is something else in there that I cannot quite pin down. Not an unpleasant nose, but nothing to go out of your way for.

The Taste: At $5, you may ask, "what did you expect?" Well, not much, to be truthful. Frankly I think I got my money's worth. That, considering the price, is both good and bad. I detect the Sauvignon Blanc and the Viognier, but the Gewurz and the Chard are pretty much lost on me. It's actually not terrible, and I might sit on the porch and down a couple of glasses without realizing it. There's not much acidity, so we'll skip the food pairing portion of the program. There's also a medium-length finish that you may wish wasn't so lengthy. If I haven't mentioned it already, serve this wine chilled. No, refrigerated. You really don't want it warming up as you drink it.

I don't write too many unfavorable tasting notes, and it doesn't sit well with me when I do. I like wine, and I enjoy liking it. This one simply does not hit me in the right place. If all you have is $5, and you need to spend it on white wine, I suppose it would be considered a value play for you, if it weren't for the fact that Clay Station's Viognier is about the same price at TJ's and it's actually good. I wish I had opened that wine today. Maybe I will in the coming weeks.

Disclaimer: I paid for the wine I wrote about.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Doce Robles Barbera 2007

I tried this wine a while back, and these are my notes on it.

The Bottle:

The pleasant vineyard drawing on the label is probably a view from Highway 46 outside of Paso Robles. I'm just guessing about that, but it's a nice picture anyway. Pardon the "borrowed" 2006 vintage label here, but I liked the way the picture showed in this shot much better than in the one I took. Estate grown, 100% Barbera grapes are aged 24 months in American oak. The alcohol runs 13.9% abv.

The Nose:
Big licorice aromas right away reminded me of smelling a wine at a winery tasting - the nose always seems so much more powerful to me in a tasting room. Lots of berry fruit came through. They say on the label you should expect some raspberry, but I don't get that. Maybe a raspberry/chocolate blend.

The Taste:
There was a very full mouthfeel, with a vibrant and oaky texture. This wine sat quite well in my mouth and fairly screamed for food. I tried a few gorgonzola crackers with it -
thank you, Trader Joe's - but that didn't hit the mark. I would love to try it with an Italian dish, maybe a mushroom risotto. If memory serves - and that's always hit and miss - bought this wine for about $10 at Trader Joe's. I think it's well worth the money. Hopefully they won't run out before I get more.